- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Categories: Feature, Media
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This week I attended a special Remembrance service at the Wales War Memorial to commemorate minority ethnic and Commonwealth servicemen and women. I also attended the National Service of Remembrance on Sunday. As the daughter of a soldier and having represented the Senedd at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association for many years, I am mindful of the sacrifices that others have made for our freedom. The racist thugs who debased the Cenotaph dishonour them all.
This year’s Armistice events have taken place against the backdrop of the heartbreaking situation in the Middle East. Last week I backed a Senedd motion calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. Contrary to some media reporting of the vote, Senedd Members from all sides are united in horror at the events that have unfolded in Israel and Gaza over recent weeks – and in our call for the international community to renew its commitment and action to achieve a two-state solution and lasting peace.
At First Miniter’s Question Time on Tuesday, I highlighted the importance of Wales’ faith heritage. I invited Mark Drakeford to visit the former Hermon chapel in Pembrokeshire, which is set to get a new lease of life as a heritage centre, café, and affordable flats – thanks to the efforts of local people and Welsh Government funding. I also asked about Welsh Government support for the Wexford-Pembrokeshire Pilgrim Way, an ambitious and exciting project that has huge tourism potential.
There are over 1,500 miles of pilgrim ways in Wales. I can’t think of a better way to enjoy our countryside and heritage than walking these ancient routes. I can’t think of a worse way than persecuting animals in the name of sport. It is nearly 20 years since the UK Labour government banned fox hunting. But the law is being ignored or exploited behind the smokescreen of trail hunting. Wales banned it on land managed by Natural Resources Wales two years ago. We now need the UK government to end hunting with hounds for good. When I raised this at the Welsh Parliament recently, rural affairs minister Lesley Griffiths promised to push UK ministers on the matter.
For the next few weeks, I will be busy organising, supporting and promoting White Ribbon events. The White Ribbon campaign engages men and boys to end violence against women and girls. It starts on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and runs for 16 days of activism. After the success of last year’s candlelight walk and vigil in Haverfordwest, this year I am taking the campaign to Ammanford. On Thursday 23 November, we will gather at the cricket club car park at 13:15 before walking to the Pensioners Hall – everyone welcome!
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